After 4 ½ years, we made the move back down south. To say I am excited is an understatement. Mason and Reagan will be about a 3 hour CAR ride away from their grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and dozens and dozens of extended family. I could not be happier. Growing up in a military family, I had the rare occasions of getting to spend quality time with my grandparents and it has been my goal since becoming a parent to give this experience that I missed out on, to my children. I want them to know my parents like I knew them. I want them to know Steve’s mom and get a chance to bond with all of them and develop their own relationship, one that is not based only around thanksgiving. I am so thankful that we will not be traveling by plane this thanksgiving. Traveling with two kids is not what I would call fun. Planes are crowded, security is nerve racking and I already feel less stressed about the holiday knowing we don’t have to worry about connections, who is watching Bailey and Jack, and how the kids will do on the plane. I am over the moon, to have a hand full of family ready and waiting to watch our kids so Steve and I can have a night out. I can’t wait to pick up with my college roomies and make memories of our children becoming friends. I can’t wait for Mason to experience SEC football and a game day down south. I am honored to not only call my parents, my parents but to call them my friends, and I know being closer to home will only make us closer. I am so happy, but, I know what all I am leaving behind.
It took a while but Seattle became our home. We have many great memories there and I come back to the south a changed person. Not better, not worse, I just have more experience under my belt. Our family literally doubled in size in Seattle (by people count)- that is probably the biggest change in our lives. Our house became a home with the patter of little feet and babble of little words. I will never forget waking up Christmas Eve 2007, taking a pregnancy test and realizing in 9 months we were going to be parents. I won’t forget the expression on Steve’s face when he read Mason’s shirt that said “big brother” and he realized we were about to grow by two more feet. 11131 holds the memories of Mason’s first steps, his first words, his first tooth coming in, countless hugs and kisses, many giggles, many tears, and the moment he became a big brother. Our house hosted many playgroups, and visitors from TN, GA, AZ, KS and CA. I got to see my husband transform into a father and I was able to fall in love with him all over again. We brought our baby girl home to that house. We learned that no two children are alike and we learned your heart can continue to grow and overflow with love for all of your children. We got to hear Reagan’s first laugh, and watch her roll over for the first time. We endured our first trip to urgent care for her sensitive belly and we learned that hearing your child cry in pain is probably the worst torture you can inflict on a parent. I was able to begin the voyage of motherhood with an amazing group of moms and I will forever be a better person because of each and every one of them. Leaving that group and knowing that my children will not have daily contact with those wonderful mama’s still breaks my heart a bit. But I know, we will meet new friends and we will keep in touch with our first friends I was able to tap into more creativity than I knew I had thanks to my Tuesday Night Stampers. They became my mom’s away from mom and they treated my children like their own grandchildren. Steve and I tackled numerous house projects including remodeling a kitchen and building a deck. We learned there is more than one way to do things right and listening to each other can sometimes create an even better plan. We learned that living in a big city comes with an overwhelming amount of opportunities and shopping. I also learned to restrain from excess shopping. We learned being a neighbor isn’t just about living next to someone; it is about getting to know them and opening your doors and your heart to those relationships.
Our family 2010 (we still have B&J- it was just too hard to rangle two kids and two pets)I hope that Mason will have memories of Seattle. I hope he will remember play dates in the park, the Tulip Festival, and driving around looking at Christmas lights. 11131 was his first home and those walls share a million moments that helped shape who he is today. I know Reagan is too young to remember anything. But I can’t wait to share stories with her. And we will be back to visit. I left a piece of my heart in the northwest within all the beautiful friendships I made.
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to move away for a while. Take the time to live outside your comfort zone, and force yourself to discover who you are when you have to begin from scratch. I promise you will come out of it thankful for all you have learned. Atleast I have.
For those of you who don’t listen to country music you need to check out Miranda Lambert’s song “the house that built me”. It speaks to me in so many ways.